Ending inhumane culling of dogs success in China

December 06 2013

Every year, thousands of people die due to rabies, a deadly but preventable disease. In more than 99% of all human cases, the virus is transmitted by dogs.

As a result, many governments react to rabies outbreaks by culling thousands of dogs, but the evidence shows that this is an ineffective solution: no matter how many dogs are killed, it does not stop the disease from spreading. 

The only proven way to stop rabies spreading is by making dogs our protectors. Vaccinating at least 70% of a dog population against the disease creates a barrier which stops it spreading between dogs. By removing the main source of infection, rabies in dogs and other animal populations can be eliminated and human rabies deaths vastly reduced. 

World Animal Protection is calling for governments to change policy and practice from dog culling to humane and sustainable mass dog vaccination. In 2012, we signed a cooperation agreement with the China Animal Disease Control Centre (CADC) to introduce advanced rabies prevention and control technology to China with the aim of avoiding the needless culling of dogs in the name of rabies. 

According to a report jointly released by the Ministries of Health, Public Security, Agriculture and State Food and Drug Administration, more than 2,400 people die from rabies in China each year – second only to India. More than 110,000 rabies-related deaths have been reported in China since 1950. A scientific solution for the prevention and treatment of rabies is urgently needed for the protection of public and animal health. 

A pilot program was formally launched in Jieshou city of Anhui province on 12 September 2013, and later in Tongzhi county of Guizhou province and Hancheng city of Shanxi province. During the next two years, World Animal Protection and the CADC will develop and promote scientific rabies prevention and control solutions throughout China based on the achievements and experience gained in these pilot vaccination areas.  

So far, approximately 80,000 dogs have been vaccinated at the three pilot sites, reaching over 70% of the estimated total dog population in the area. World Animal Protection’s Red Collar team travelled to Shanxi province to meet some of the dogs and their owners – here are a few of their stories.

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